J.D. Salinger and the Estate Tax

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Jan 31, 2010    •    566 Views

Reading J.D. Salinger’s obituary, I thought about the estate tax and then beyond to a Mark Helprin interview last June.
Have you wondered, with the 2010 suspension of the estate tax (called by some the “Throw Momma From the Train Act”), what J.D. Salinger’s heirs will avoid paying? Then, though, as Floyd Norris discusses in his blog, how would his heirs and the government value the unpublished manuscripts he left if Congress creates a retroactive tax?

Writer Mark Helprin discussed the topic last summer when he suggested that copyrights should be extended. He says it is unreasonable that heirs should receive tangible property but cannot have similar rights to literary property.

The Economic Life:
Taxation can be perceived as wealth redistribution. The question we as a society face is how much we want to redistribute wealth from those who have more to those with less.

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